An educated workforce is vital for the continued economic prosperity of Iowa communities. Employers in all industries have an increasing need for skilled and educated workers. Only 41 percent of Iowa’s 1.6 million working-age adults (25-64 years old) have two or four-year degrees1, while more than six in 10 jobs in the state will require postsecondary credentials by 2018.2 Iowa’s economic future depends on us producing more college graduates—a task more effectively tackled at the local level in our communities rather than by the state as a whole.
Increasing college attainment leads to stronger local and state economies. Iowa’s economic future depends on us producing more college graduates. An increase of one-percent in degree attainment leads to a two-percent increase in a community’s economic growth.3
College Changes Everything is based on the premise that sustained change is only possible through cross-sector coordination. Relationships based on shared responsibility and trust, development of a common agenda, shared measurement of goals, effective communication and mutual reinforcement of activities among all participants are key to successfully increase college attainment at the community level. Building upon the existing initiatives and resources currently available in our communities, College Changes Everything™ leverages the strengths and long-term plans of each participating organization. Ground-level legwork of VISTA volunteers, access to data and training and strategic assistance for community leaders provided by Iowa College Aid and other state and national experts fuel the movement to meet the community’s higher education goals and raise educational attainment statewide.
Initial leadership for the College Changes Everything initiative has been identified in the cities of Burlington, Council Bluffs, Marshalltown and Waterloo. To build momentum at the grass roots level, Iowa College Aid has received approval for six VISTA member positions, to be embedded in organizations in each targeted community. Each VISTA will be responsible for building support of the College Changes Everything movement, coordinating College Application Campaigns and FAFSA Completion projects at high schools in his or her respective community. Other VISTA member responsibilities will be based on the community’s specific needs.
Learn more about these six available AmeriCorps VISTA positions and apply!
 Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (June 2010). The Midwest Challenge: Matching Jobs with Education in the Post-Recession Economy.  Lumina Foundation (June 2013). A Stronger Iowa through Higher Education.  Iowa Workforce Development (2013). Iowa’s Workforce and the Economy.